Mother Nature tried to slow down the Buccaneers but the Blue & Gold rose to the challenge.
After waiting out a three-hour and 16-minute weather delay, ETSU football put together a dominating performance in its 2023 home opener as the Bucs blanked Carson-Newman 42-0 in a game that ended right after midnight on Sunday morning inside William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium.
The Bucs, who recorded their first shutout since Oct. 6, 2018 when they blanked Gardner-Webb 45-0, held Carson-Newman to 204 yards of total offense, including 85 yards on the ground. ETSU’s defense forced one turnover, while the special teams came through with a blocked punt which resulted in a touchdown. Offensively, the Blue & Gold generated 352 yards of total offense – 208 of those yards coming on the ground.
Six different Buccaneers accounted for the touchdowns, including three resulting in the first of their careers – Ray Coney (Fairfield, Ohio), Xavier Gaillardetz (Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada) and Timmy Dorsey (Overland Park, Kan.). Bryson Irby (Douglasville, Ga.) and Will Huzzie (Duluth, Ga.) provided the other two scores. Irby’s came on the 1-yard run for the first of the game and Huzzie continued his with incredible, acrobatic touchdown grab in the third quarter. Huzzie also reached a personal milestone on Saturday as he went over 2,000 career receiving yards, joining Buccaneer greats B.J. Adigun (1994-97) and Cecil Moore (1999-02) as the only other players in program history to accomplish the feat.
With the win, ETSU improved to 1-1 on the season and secured its first win over Carson-Newman since 1955.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
ETSU 7, Carson-Newman 0: For the second straight game, ETSU got on the scoreboard first as the Bucs found the end zone for the first time this season on its second drive of the contest. Following a 28-yard punt return by Einaj Carter (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) that spotted the ball at the Eagle 19-yard line, Irby capped off a four-play, 19-yard scoring drive with his one-yard run, putting the Bucs ahead 7-0 with 7:57 left in the opening quarter.
ETSU 14, Carson-Newman 0: Carter’s speed in the return game paid off yet again as his 29-yard punt return started ETSU’s fourth drive on its own 49-yard line. The Bucs needed just four plays to hit pay dirt as May ripped off a 29-yard sprint to the end zone for his first collegiate touchdown, extending the lead to 14-0 with 1:23 left in the quarter.
ETSU 21, Carson-Newman 0: ETSU’s special teams pitched in with a score when Teddy Wilson (Edenton, N.C.) blocked the punt and freshman Ray Coney scooped up the ball in the end zone for the Bucs’ third score of the night.
ETSU 28, Carson-Newman 0: The Bucs started the second with a bang as they received the ball to start the third quarter and mounted an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Huzzie finished it off with an off-balanced, one-handed touchdown grab in the back corner of the end zone and ETSU led by 28 points with 9:57 showing on the clock.
ETSU 35, Carson-Newman 0: The Blue & Gold made it back-to-back scoring drives as they marched 70 yards down field on eight plays with May hitting Gaillardetz for a 32-yard strike. The Bucs picked up three first downs on the drive, including Amir Dendy (Anderson, S.C.) picking up five yards on a 4th-and-1 play from the Carson-Newman 37-yard line.
ETSU 42, Carson-Newman 0: The Buccaneer defense gave their offense a short field for the final scoring drive of the night when Pittsburgh transfer Khalil Anderson (Atlanta, Ga.) picked off Jaylen Myers and returned it 14 yards to the Eagle 20-yard line. The Eagles were flagged for a personal foul after the play and Dorsey found a huge hole to the right for a five-yard score.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
ETSU is now 7-0 in its home openers inside Greene Stadium with the Bucs outscoring their opponents 262-65 over this seven-game run
The Bucs secured their second shutout since returning the program in 2015 … ETSU blanked Gardner-Webb 45-0 on Oct. 6, 2018
Tonight marked the 32nd all-time meeting between ETSU and Carson-Newman and first since Sept. 14, 1974 … The Bucs secured their first win over the Eagles since 1955
Baron May threw his first career touchdowns on Saturday as he finished 9-of-15 for 139 yards … May also ran for 109 yards on 13 carries and the one touchdown, becoming the first Buccaneer quarterback to run for over 100 yards since Austin Herink (Cleveland, Tenn.) had 134 rushing yards against Kentucky Wesleyan on Nov. 21, 2015
Will Huzzie led the Bucs with five receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown … For his career, Huzzie now has 154 receptions, 2,039 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns
Linebackers Ray Coney and Stephen Scott led the defense with seven tackles, while defensive lineman Isaiah McGaha (Knoxville, Tenn.) recorded his first career sack
Nate Brackett (Rockwood, Tenn.) averaged nearly 51 yards per punt (50.8) as he finished with six for 305, including a career-long 70-yard punt that pinned the Eagles down to the 3-yard line in the second quarter
Einaj Carter finished with 80 yards on four punt returns
Saturday’s game was scheduled to kickoff at 5:32 p.m., but due to lightning the contest was delayed three hours and 16 minutes, as kickoff occurred at 8:48 p.m. … The game ended at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday
The paid attendance was 8,592, resulting in the 23rd sellout in Greene Stadium history … The Bucs are now 23-11 all-time inside their on-campus home
NEXT GAME UP
ETSU wraps non-conference play next Saturday, Sept. 16 when the Bucs travel to Clarksville, Tenn. to take on Austin Peay. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.